DVML issues and rankles [Burden’s reply]

Received.
Tuesday, December 03, 2013 8:59 AM

Cr Lee Vandervis forwards copy of email correspondence, noting: “An unsatisfactory set of responses to my questions of Darren Burden, now departed, follows.”

—— Forwarded Message
From: Darren Burden [DVML]
Date: Wed, 30 Oct 2013 04:14:39 +0000
To: Lee Vandervis
Cc: Paul Orders [DCC], Sue Bidrose [DCC], Sandy Graham [DCC]
Conversation: DVML urgent issues to be resolved
Subject: FW: DVML urgent issues to be resolved

Lee

Paul forwarded to me your recent comments about Dunedin Venues which I briefly discussed with him. He has asked that I respond to you on the points raised:

A. We have recently installed toilet facilities to Level 2A which in an ideal world would have been installed as part of the original build. However the original build did include the infrastructure for this such as capped services. The work carried out has been consented by the building control department. The cost of the work is within the authority of the DVML board and does not need council approval. In respect of comments from Mr Anderson I have never been introduced to him and was not informed by DVAV that anyone by this name has worked at the stadium for the last 2 years. Refer to point C about DVAV.

B. We have 8 sets of grow lights which cost approximately $35,000 to build. These were manufactured through local suppliers and contractors. These are not used to grow an “ailing” pitch rather to assist worn patches in their re-growth particularly during the winter months. This is not unusual for most stadiums and in fact the size (and cost) of ours are considerably smaller than elsewhere. We estimate the running cost for these in any given year is in the order of $8,000. As a side note, if the pitch had the same amount of use as Carisbrook used to we probably would not need them. However they are of assistance in respect of the significant use the stadium is getting (last financial year we had 60 main bowl events which compares, we believe, with 21 at Eden Park, 14 at Waikato, and 47 at Westpac). Again, our board had authority to approve this cost so did not need council approval. In respect of the electricity cost it should be noted that the stadium has four substations which provides for surety of supply, however this means that our fixed charges are proportionally high to the overall bill. Power usage would be about 50% of our electricity bill.

C. Dunedin Venues has a very good record at paying contractors on time – our monthly financial reports substantiate this. We do, however, have a current dispute with DVAV which is being dealt with through the provisions of the contract by both parties agreeing to go to arbitration. We are not a party to any contractual arrangement between DVAV and Mr Anderson, so any issues that he has would be for him to address directly with DVAV.

Kind regards

DARREN BURDEN
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
_____________________________________________

DDI 03 479 4530 M 029 200 1579
E darren.burden@dunedinvenues.co.nz
W http://www.dunedinvenues.co.nz

From: Paul Orders [DCC]
Sent: Friday, 11 October 2013 3:56 p.m.
To: Darren Burden [DVML]
Subject: FW: DVML urgent issues to be resolved
Importance: High

Darren,

Any chance you could draft a response to Lee on each of the points he’s making here.

It would be probably be helpful if we could talk through the response before it goes to Lee.

Regards,

Paul

From: Lee Vandervis
Sent: Thursday, 10 October 2013 12:42 p.m.
To: Paul Orders [DCC]
Cc: Sue Bidrose [DCC]; Sandy Graham [DCC]
Subject: DVML urgent issues to be resolved
Importance: High

Hi Paul,

The last month has been chock full of people complaining to me about the on-going goings-on at DVML.
I again strongly urge you disestablish this dysfunctional DVML board of directors and review management options.

A – I have it on first hand authority that enormous sums are currently being spent on new toilet blocks and facilities that perhaps should have been part of the original build.
Much work has been completed on level 2 amongst other construction. None of this work has been authorised by Council as far as I am aware, and I have been taking keen interest.
I am also advised that substandard work guaranteeing long term high maintenance [like the substitution of non-tanalised timber where tanalised was specified that I previously advised you of and showed photographic evidence]. Martin Andersen [see email below] has worked at the Stadium for 2 years and can give details.

B – Specifically not authorised by Council was the funding for expensive grow-lights for the ailing turf, which Councillors rejected over a year ago as NOT TO BE FUNDED, as DVML, Farry and Co had assured us that the turf would grow satisfactorily under the EFTE roof. Extensive banks of grow-lights have been used regularly for many months now despite the Council decision, causing further direct lights cost and injurious augmentation of an already obscene electricity cost [$250,000 per year without grow lights – when the whole city’s electric lighting costs $1.5 million].

C – DVML have been refusing to pay a number of contractors in a timely fashion, specifically DVAV [confirm with contacts below] for extensive AV work since March of this year, and are now being expensively sued for breach of contract.

Council has recently bailed out DVML for its spending of unauthorised millions [I have consistently recorded my vote against] and the obvious reasons for not bailing them keep appearing as above.
This has happened on your watch Paul, and I have been forthright in warning you about it.

I demand that action be immediately taken to investigate all DVML decisions, past and present and that a full report on past failings and options be brought to Council asap. The $20 million annual running cost bleeding of the ratepayer by the Stadium must end now.

Regards,
Cr. Lee Vandervis

—— Forwarded Message
From: Megan Anderson
Date: Wed, 9 Oct 2013 00:01:18 +0000
To: Lee Vandervis
Subject: Non payment

Good Afternoon Lee,

As per our conversation this is to confirm that I worked for DVAV and we are still awaiting payment as DVAV are still awaiting outstanding invoice payments from DVML, for confirmation of this please don’t hesitate to contact Mike Cook on [mobile number deleted. -Eds].

Thanks

Marty and Megan Anderson

Sent from Windows Mail

—— End of Forwarded Message

Editor’s Note:
Mike Cook is the sole director of DV Audio Visual Limited. DVAV was incorporated on 13 July 2012. In Forsyth Barr Stadium marketing literature, Dunedin Venues say they “work closely with DVAV who are a full service audio visual company delivering audio visual, lighting, event production, conference and technical support services”.

Related Post and Comments:
30.11.13 DVML in disarray

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

12 Comments

Filed under Business, DCC, DVL, DVML, Economics, Hot air, Name, New Zealand, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Sport, Stadiums

12 responses to “DVML issues and rankles [Burden’s reply]

  1. amanda

    So this might explain why Burden has decided to leave the stadium gravy train. He might think it best to jump ship to greener pastures in Christchurch since Lee, alone among the gormless DCC, is questioning the $20 million funds shortfall. The other councillors? appear to be too weak or blind to care.

  2. Anonymous

    60 events on the main stadium turf in 2012/2013???

    List them.

  3. Mike

    52 of them are probably the Sunday market

  4. amanda

    Yes. Burden and DVML are an epic FAILURE. Christchurch, you are welcome to Burden. How longer till the other DVML bludgers decide it is not worth staying in this town? How long will they keep on riding the gravy train? More to the point, who sitting around that council table is awake to hold them accountable?

  5. Received.
    Tuesday, December 03, 2013 9:08 AM

    Subject: Why we must turf The Turf – Opinion piece

    Cr Lee Vandervis writes:
    [John P.Evans, concerned citizen] has remarked, “The real problem is that from the finance meeting the other day it became immediately apparent that there is no member of the council or the DCC who have a single idea about what to do with the stadium. No solutions zero, nitch. No idea, not even a bad one.” Perhaps you could remind him and others of this opinion piece which was printed almost without editing by the ODT.

    turf pic[image supplied]

    —— Forwarded Message
    From: Lee Vandervis
    Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2012 17:12:49 +1300
    To: Chris Morris [ODT]
    Conversation: Why we must turf The Turf – Opinion piece
    Subject: FW: Why we must turf The Turf – Opinion piece

    —— Forwarded Message
    From: Lee Vandervis
    To: Editor ODT, Philip Somerville [ODT]
    Cc: NICHOLAS GEORGE S SMITH [ODT]
    Conversation: Why we must turf The Turf – Opinion piece
    Subject: Why we must turf The Turf – Opinion piece

    G’day Phillip and Murray [and Nick],

    I hope the opinion piece below is sufficiently informative, provocative and entertaining to warrant printing soon in your opinion pages.

    Kind regards,
    Lee

    Why we must turf The Turf.

    During a TV1 Close-up interview at the Stadium last week, the interviewer, cameraman and I stood on the artificial turf sidelines of the Stadium to record the financial folly being contemplated in building another similar Stadium in Christchurch. The cameraman asked the hovering 4th member of our group, a management-mandated minder, if he could take a few steps back onto the Hallowed Turf to widen the shot of the empty south stand in the background. The minder, a paid stadium employee whose job it was to prevent us from straying into inappropriate areas of the Stadium, responded with a polite but flat “No”.
    The turf, which had just been mowed in a lovingly precise diagonal criss-cross pattern, is apparently too delicate to withstand the wear associated with six steps of a cameraman.
    The answer to the question ‘why spend another million on an artificial turf?’ is not just that we are currently wasting more than that level of ratepayer’s treasure over time on: several specialist grounds-men, specialist mowing machines, turf aeration, watering and fertiliser systems, the monitoring of ambient light spectrum and levels, roof washing to let the right light in, under-roof dew suppression sprayers for the same thing, wind-speed, temperature, relative humidity, and grass-growth monitoring to determine how many days or weeks [depending on weather] are required for The Turf to recover between events.
    The Hallowed Turf is ludicrously expensive to try and grow under a roof, but the worst waste is in down-time. The period of The Turf recovery between events means that most of the time you can not use the main Stadium while you wait for the grass to recover. If the grass recovery time for a 2 hour game is one week, this means that you can not use the pitch for 166 out of 168 hours, or 99% of the time!

    Another issue is that The Turf requirement of natural wind movement means that you can not drop the Stadium skirts to ground level to keep out the wind or the cold, both of which have made miserable many events at the Stadium, including the Elton John concert for those in prone seating areas.

    If you assume that the Stadium is only to be used for a handful of superstar Rugby games each year, then The Turf almost makes sense even if we did have to spend over $600,000 sewing an artificial Grass-master reinforcing into it to overcome its previously denied weakness when growing under a roof. The claim has been made that the International Rugby Board will not allow A grade Rugby to be played on a fully artificial turf, but a close look at the IRB rules on permitted playing surfaces does not preclude playing on an artificial turf. Rugby League are happy to play on artificial turf as are soccer – in fact FIFA are discussing paying for an artificial turf here in Dunedin.

    The Turf has been just one of many major mistaken decisions around the initial mistaken decision of the Stadium itself.
    Other unaffordable expenses include: legions of paid staff [500 –700 for a big event when Rotary volunteers used to do a good job at Carisbrook], a board of deflectors, insurance [DCC should self-insure], excessive maintenance for guarantee purposes, security contracts requiring bomb disposal and antiterrorist trained staff, thousands of freebee rugby tickets for the well-connected, and having anything sincere to say about the ORFU.
    Having paid the ORFU $7 million for Carisbrook to bail them out the time before last, we should banish them back to the House of Pain on a cost-covering rental basis until they have learnt humility, honesty, how to share and how to promote good grass roots Rugby. It is easy to pokie scorn at the ORFU, but can you think of any sports organisation in our history that deserves it more?
    Having the All Whites as anchor tenants for the Stadium with an artificial turf so it could be constantly available between soccer usage would get over the problem of the Stadium being empty most of the time.
    None of this deals with the debt, but at least it would get the Stadium used without bleeding ratepayers so heavily on running costs.
    It is said that there is nothing as boring as watching grass grow.
    In Dunedin, there is nothing more unaffordable than watching grass growing in Forsyth Barr Stadium.

    —— End of Forwarded Message

  6. Comment received. [anonymous]
    Friday, 6 December 2013 7:35 a.m.

    DVML staff were very excited about the toilets. How did level 2A come about? They got the measurememts wrong and ended up with a whole extra level and no provision was made to do anything with it. Never heard of a building project which gets it so wrong they end up with a whole extra level!
    The stadium design was done ‘on the hoof’.
    Farry always has to blame someone else. This time he can blame Santa for not giving him a tapemeasure in his santa sack.

    [ends]

    ****

    Cough cough.
    What if? Dunedin rides again! [thank you for following, ‘ODT readers’ !!!]
    Today, ODT says: “The situation came to light after an email exchange from October, involving DVML chief executive Darren Burden, Cr Lee Vandervis and former Dunedin City Council chief executive Paul Orders, was published online this week.”

    ### ODT Online Fri, 6 Dec 2013
    Toilets, lift added to stadium space
    By Chris Morris
    A fresh war of words has broken out over suggestions Forsyth Barr Stadium has been caught short by missing toilets inside the venue. It emerged this week Dunedin Venues Management Ltd – which runs the roofed stadium – had spent $166,000 in recent months adding new toilets and a service lift stop on Level 2A, inside the stadium’s south stand. The work was completed in August, and was needed to service a nearby office and function area that was proving hard to lease without the services, DVML chairman Sir John Hansen confirmed when contacted.
    Read more

  7. Rob Hamlin

    From McPravda today:

    “It emerged this week Dunedin Venues Management Ltd – which runs the roofed stadium – had spent $166,000 in recent months adding new toilets and a service lift stop on Level 2A, inside the stadium’s south stand…. The work was completed in August, and was needed to service a nearby office and function area that was proving hard to lease…. Sir John…told the Otago Daily Times the improvements were needed to bring the area up to a standard that was ”actually usable”.”

    It’s not really necessary to further comment beyond Sir John’s about Farry’s world standard multi-use facility.

  8. Phil

    There was a brief article in one of the national papers a couple of days back, about the need for Wellington to build a larger capacity concert venue. Something in the vicinity of 12,000 spectators. The football stadium in Wellington wasn’t deemed to be quite up to standard for a specialist music event. What made the read interesting was the agreement between all the major concert promotors quoted from Australasia that, if Wellington didn’t improve its venues, then Auckland would continue to be the only stop in New Zealand for major touring bands. That was it: Auckland, Wellington, or nothing. Those were the choices given by the promotors. Not one promotor felt that the Dunedin stadium was worth mentioning in the same breath as major touring acts. Build it and they will come, right ? Seems like the message keeps knocking on the door but no one seems to be wanting to answer it.

  9. Further to Phil’s comment:

    ### stuff.co.nz Last updated 05:00 20/12/2013
    Entertainment
    Larger venue key if capital wants big acts – promoter
    By Tom Cardy
    The Australian promoter behind The Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen playing Auckland next year says he would bring more big-name acts to Wellington – if it had a 12,000-seat venue.
    Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said the council recognised the need for a large covered concert venue, capable of attracting headline acts. The concept was listed yesterday as one of eight “big ideas” capable of bringing visitors and money into Wellington.
    Read more

  10. Anonymous

    Somewhere on this planet there must be an honest, reputable and sensible mayor who has the strength to stand up and say:

    “While the council will facilitate some initial costs to help the stadium get built, it is not in the best interests of majority ratepayers to pay for an entertainment centre and its constructions falls well within the remit of private investment.”

    Somewhere. Certainly not in Dunedin.

  11. Burble from Burden – demented, not missed, part of the problem since CSCT…
    http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/286387/departing-ceo-proud-stadium-staff

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